The Stranger

Notice who wrote this. Chekov of Star Trek fame; also, Bester, of Babylon 5 fame.

Their father has been working on trying to instruct them about the need for finding food that is safe for them to eat.

Will finds a cave to investigate and neither he nor Holly notice the Sleestaks around.

They find a strange room in the cave.

He holds off the Sleestaks with the strange object they found in the cave.

Another Sleestak appears, but this one is a different color and speaks in English. He identifies himself as Enik, the Altrusian. He identifies the Sleestaks as being his ancestors.

He also reveals he's from the future.

Will explains that Enik is a telepath.

Enik explains that the device which helps control time portals can self-destruct if exposed to too many thoughts of violence and force. That's to prevent any hostile species from using it to gain entrance to Enik's time.

Will's thoughts are so negative that they break the device. Enik talks about humans being violent. (But when did the Altrusians ever meet humans other than the three that are there?)

The Sleestaks open fire on Enik.

Will tries to get a dinosaur mad enough to chase him, then the Sleestaks.

They go to the Lost City to find power crystals to fix Enik's device.

Enik realizes that, instead of going into the past, he went into the future. The Lost City is a city he knows; the Sleestaks are barbaric descendants of the Altrusians, not their ancestors.

They continue to argue about who should use the device. Enik says he must use it so he can warn his people about their own future. He says several times that he doesn't know the coordinates of the earth, and to find them would use up the available crystal power.

Enik is having the kids experience some kind of hallucination.

Will explains that it is not the absence of hate that will save the Altrusians, but the presence of compassion. Enik apologizes for using the mist to cause them to see whatever it is their fear the most. Enik gets the device to work.

Walter Koenig does a commentary track for this episode. He wrote the episode in 1974. It was only the second or third script that he had sold. He wanted to show the two kids arguing. Being an early episode, finding food was still a problem at the time in the storyline. He doesn't seem to care a lot for the look of the Sleestaks, although he says for kids they might appear ominous.

He then talks about the crystal and its powers. The original name was Eneg in tribute to Gene Roddenberry, but the name was changed to Enik. He needed to write an explanation for why Enik didn't take the crystal by force, which is why Enik says the crystal would be destroyed by the use of violence.

He says he did not know what Enik would actually look like on the set. He then talks about how alien a world this was for Marshall, Will and Holly. He adds that the alien has an intellect that needs to be considered, and what he says needs to be paid attention to.

They get past the fear of Enik being different and alien to them. Different species can learn to work together. He says the conflict in the story is that there is only one doorway, and only one person or group can use the doorway. He says it's the “heroic aspect” of the human characters that they allow Enik to be the one to return.

The characters grow and change and see the “greater good.” They learn that both sides have to make concessions and contribute insight into a situation, that violence is not necessarily the only answer. Compromise and communication are the better choices.

He also points out that Enik has to be the one to return. If the family returned, the series would have ended at only six episodes.

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